Bagpipe Silver, Inc. was started as Sterling Silver Company out of a desire to offer the highest quality sterling silver fittings available for Great Highland bagpipes. We felt the quality of silver workmanship generally offered on modern bagpipes was far below that seen on older silver mounted bagpipes. Injection casting, roll stamping, and machine engraving have replaced high quality hand chasing and hand engraving. Although several speak of hand-chased sterling silver, very few actually offer silver which has been hand worked. There are few silversmiths today with the skill needed to produce true works of art from silver.
There are several different techniques which are used to produce our high quality silver bagpipe fittings.
Hand chasing. With this method, silver is moved with a small pointed tool and a small mallet. It is much like what you'd do if you used a stick to draw in the sand. Silver is not removed, but designs are drawn in the metal with the tool using a small mallet. This method is also used to produce a textured background in the design.
Hand engraving. With this method a very sharp tool is used to actually remove silver in order to produce the design in the metal. It can produce deeper definition to accent the higher points of the design.
Repoussé. This is a method of using a very small mallet to tap a tool against the metal to lower areas in background and thereby to effect an apparent raising of the foreground design. Very close inspection with a jeweler's loupe can help you identify differences of technique.
The techniques we use are those same techniques which are on museum quality silver work and can make heirlooms of your bagpipe.
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